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Of all the superfoods you’ve heard about recently, the ones that can super-charge your health and help prevent all sorts of diseases, there’s one that stands out from the crowd.
Now, you can add exceptional eye health protection to that list.
Studies across the globe have proven the power of the antioxidants in green tea to prevent the progression of two eye conditions that rob thousands of people of their vision each year…
Cataracts: The leading cause of blindness
According to the World Health Organization, cataracts are responsible for more than half of blindness worldwide.
Cataracts are a clouding of the lens of the eye. Most cataracts are part of the aging process, although they can result from eye injury and some other eye diseases.
The main symptom of cataracts is blurry vision, feeling like you are looking through a cloudy or fogged-up window. A person with cataracts may also have trouble with night vision, or experience double vision in the affected eye.
Surgical treatment can prevent blindness and improve vision, if done before cataracts are too advanced.
Glaucoma: The sneaky thief of vision
After cataracts, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide. In the United States alone, about 12 percent of all blindness is caused by glaucoma.
You are at greater risk of developing glaucoma if you are over 60, have a family history of the condition, or are nearsighted.
The most common type of glaucoma often has no early symptoms at all, other than gradual loss of vision. A rare type of glaucoma brings eye pain, nausea and sudden vision loss.
Green tea fights these vision-stealers
Study after study has shown that green tea provides potent ingredients that strengthen the eyes and help prevent both cataracts and glaucoma.
The secret ingredient? A protective compound called epigallocatechin gallate, or ECGC. Catechins are an important component of this compound.
A 2001 study in the journal Experimental Eye Research found that the catechins in green tea can actually prevent cataract-induced blindness.
In 2002, a study from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences discovered that green tea leaf extract protected the eyes of rats from forming cataracts.
In a 2007 study, green tea antioxidants were added to human retinal pigment epithelial cells, causing the cell count and activity to increase (epithelial cells cover and protect the cornea and protect against UV damage).
Finally, two studies in 2010 clearly demonstrated the power of green tea’s antioxidants to relieve the oxidative stress that leads to glaucoma.
In one study, researchers found that the protective effect of catechins remained at work for up to 20 hours after subjects drank green tea.
How to get your daily dose of green tea
To gain the benefits of green tea experienced in many tea-drinking cultures, the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests drinking two to three cups of green tea per day, giving you between 240 and 320 milligrams of polyphenols.
Not all green tea is created equal, though. Quality varies, and many commercial brands can contain pesticides and toxic contaminants. It’s best to select a high-quality, organic green tea.
Matcha green tea will give you over a thousand times the antioxidant benefits of other green teas.
Matcha is stone-ground green tea made from the entire tea leaf. Normally, when you boil green tea, you throw away the leaves. Unfortunately, you’re also throwing away a lot of the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals as well.
What if you don’t like the flavor or the caffeine?
Green tea can taste bitter at first try. If you just can’t get used to the flavor, you have a few options.
Try adding another more pleasant flavor of teabag, like apple cinnamon or orange pekoe. Or if you just can’t get used to the taste, an ECGC supplement is always an option.
If the caffeine disagrees with you, try the decaf version. (Decaf green tea has a lower level of health-producing polyphenols). You might also try adjusting when you drink your green tea. Having your last cup about eight hours before bedtime will give the effects of caffeine time to wear off.
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- Green Tea: The Eyes Have It — WebMD
- Does Green Tea Boost Your Eyesight? — LasikEyesBoston.com
- Green Tea and Eye Health — Your Sight Matters
- Can a Cup of Hot Tea a Day Help Preserve Eyesight? — The New York Times
- Frequency of a diagnosis of glaucoma in individuals who consume coffee, tea and/or soft drinks — British Journal of Ophthalmology
- Go Green: 6 Surprising Health Benefits Of Green Tea — Medical Daily
- Benefits Of Green Tea For Eye Disorders — SteadyHealth.com
- Green Tea Protects Seniors’ Eyesight, Studies Show — Live in the Now
- Why you should drink matcha green tea — Easy Health Options
- What Is Glaucoma? — WebMD
- Glaucoma Facts and Stats — Glaucoma Research Foundation
- How Much Green Tea Should You Drink Per Day? — LiveStrong.com